Q and A with Brian Odiwuor


There used to be a time when I looked at Brian and wondered to myself where the self-drive came from. I asked him sometime back how he manages to be so undeterred and determined at his endeavors. I don’t think I ever got an answer. What I remember is that the conversation redirected to other things. Probably to music or to Harvard or Silicon Valley or to talking about what it means to live the Kenyan dream. 
That’s who he is. He feeds off intellectual debates and conversations. He relishes new ideas. His thoughts are grand. You can discuss anything and everything with him. And with so much ease. It could be a topic like ‘the founding presidents of great countries’. Or it could be on ‘the reasons why America is not the greatest country in the world’. There are days I say to myself that this man was probably born in the wrong generation. He should have been born in Greece during the time of Aristotle, Socrates, Euripides and Aristophanes. Perhaps those people could have used his intellect, on their many gatherings around the Parthenon, while discussing eternal issues of reality.
Brian’s life is simple. He has no many needs. He knows what he wants. He pursues what he wants. He knows his friends. He treats his friends with profound respect. He makes them feel special. And he invites them to church every Saturday. Ooh! And I forgot to mention that he sings. He is not just the kind who sings. He is the weird kind who knows his songs so well that he can give you their histories and tell you the tales of their great composers. He knows just the right means of transforming a discord into a perfect symphony.
I always see Brian as someone who is cut out for this life. It’s like he was born ready for it. Like he had some special training while in the womb. And when he finally came out after those nine months, he knew just the right steps to make and the buttons to press. He has a relentlessness that keeps him striding despite the humility of his background. He understands that the world is full of possibilities and that he can be the best version of himself. If you observe him keenly, you’d notice that he does things with the some kind of surgical precision. Or with the exactness of a Jewish prophetess. On faith matters, he is unshakeable and irreproachable like Caesar’s wife (The Caesar here is from Shakespeare’s Tragedy of Julius Caesar. Now that we are talking Shakespeare, have you people ever wondered why he wrote about tragedies with so much passion and pain? You have. Right? Just take some time and go through some of his works. From TheTragedy of Hamlet The Prince of Denmark to The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. There’s a sublime message in all of them. Find out. Let me not spoil it for you).
In one of my numerous daily conversations with Masiga, he asked me whether Brian is normal. I told him that I’m not sure but that I could find out. He wasn’t asking out of nowhere. There’s this one time, at dawn, he saw him headed to Sheria Hall with a book on his right hand. Masiga might have been surprised but I was not. The Brian I know has an insatiable appetite for knowledge. The Brian I know can still state Newton’s Second Law of Motion without referring to any book. The Brian I know can tell you the details of a study he read ages ago on something like ‘What kind of natural remedies can be used in curing Cancer’
A few weeks ago, Brian became the Head Elder of the University of Nairobi Seventh Day Adventist Church. I always knew somewhere that his intellect and conviction to the teachings of Christ would land him at a place like that. How right I was!
Being the overall leader of a church of such stature in a university of such stature is no walk in the park. They only pick the most qualified for such posts. They don’t rumble around and give it to just anyone. For one to have such, he must demonstrate confidence, conviction and courage. He has all the three. He is definitely up to the task. I wish him the very best and pray that he excels at it.
Brian joins me for Q and A today.
Explain to me what it feels like rising to the position of the Church’s Overall Head Elder. Do you feel the pressure or are you viewing it as another challenge to conquer?
I felt the pressure just after I was informed about it. Lately, I have come to terms with the reality. I still feel inadequate but I have faith that God will see me through.
What’s the first task you want to do after your ordination?
I want to visit my members across the campuses. To know them and to be their friend.
Do you remember the first time you ever stepped into church?
Yes
When was it?
Circa 2004
What’s your definition of home?
A sweet place, composed of people related by blood, marriage or others.
If not law, what do you think would have best suited you career-wise?
Music
What is music to your soul?
A therapy and a thriller
Do you have a Sunday routine?
Yes
What’s it like?
Morning preparation, midday studies, afternoon out and an evening of activities.
Is there something about you that people would be surprised to know?
No. it’s all simple.
Do you like cats?
Yes
You seem to be the most focused person I know right now. What’s your motivation?
Am I really?
Yes
Anyway, if I ever was, my motivation is an uncertain future. Trying to break loose from the fetters of a mean past and to deliver a blissful future to my generation and peers.
Do you watch movies?
No
Would you love to start watching?
Yes with a caveat
What’s the caveat?
No romance, no fiction and no horror.
(Laughs) Awesome. I admire your life. Have you ever been out of Kenya?
No
Which country would you love to go to first if given a choice?
Seychelles
Why Seychelles?
I want to see the ‘she’ who sells sea shells at the Seychelles sea shore. She might be my relative.
(Laughs.) I presume that is a joke. Right?
Yeah. It’s a joke. Anyway I love the archipelago of the 115 idyllic islands. It epitomizes nature. Besides, there are beautiful beaches and good sceneries. 85% of the place is under forest cover. Most are indigenous trees. I want to go and see all those someday.
What’s your idea of having fun?
A moment of recreation.
What book changed your perspective about life?
The Holy Book
I low-key knew you would say that. (Laughs) Which is your favorite bird?
KasukuTell me something about your mum
She is an awesome person. The greatest person in my life.
We’re coming to an end. If you were to see a shooting star today, what wish would you make?
That I shine like it but not as rapid. I would also wish to soar higher and stay longer.
Thank you for your time Brian.

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